Jonathan Legault

Managing Director at Corematic

‘Lack of innovation in Australia’, ‘Australia’s barriers to innovation’, ‘Aussie businesses lack skills to put innovation into action’… these are some of the first results you find on Google when searching for ‘Australian Innovation’. That’s almost as painful as telling a Frenchman that Australian bread is just as good!

So, how has that happened?

There are many opportunities when embracing innovation – just take a look at my article There’s a call for Machine Vision in Australia.

Waaaaaake up Australia – Am I the only one hearing the voice of Robin Williams wishing us a Good Morning as it is time to wake up? We are not in war, but we are fighting a brutal truth:

A 2019 Australian Institute‘s survey implied about half of Australian boardrooms are asleep when it comes to their innovation oversight.

Building a culture of innovation is hard work.

The recent Infosys survey was even less kind to the younger generation of Australian’s who were at the bottom of the risk-taking pile of “9000 people aged between 16 – 25 in Australia, Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, South Africa, the UK, and the US”. I don’t know for you old pal’ – but getting older isn’t really famous to pair with taking more action!

What’s unfortunate for this generation, and the country as a whole, is that Australia seems to become more and more complacent with its perceived luck and has begun to raise increasing concern among central bankers, business leaders, and policymakers… Perhaps it’s time to leave behind the idea of sacrificing risks and innovation for the sake of conformity?

Innovation is also about accepting that things can go wrong, and that patience and perseverance are key. If you engage in innovation without being willing to accept failures, it’s pointless.

Is Australia too risk-averse to truly innovate?

No surprise if I told you that my answer is No! Having a business and living in Australia as a proud and happy real Aussie, I can guarantee that the talent and skills are there and waiting to be utilised.

But, it’s true that not all of us are wired to, or feel comfortable in risk-taking. Building a culture of innovation in your company will take hard work. For those of you who are scared about what will follow, don’t worry, I am not talking about companies that are famous for their nap room, ping-pong tables, and cocktail-induced ‘brainstorming’ by the beach… the research confirms that all this simply does not build a culture of innovation. Gen Y, no offense.

Risk-taking can be a learned behaving, yet many people just aren’t prepared to step out of their comfort zone. It is common for senior leaders to play it safe when confronted with the choice of supporting innovation. Surprisingly, when we are meeting industries and businesses, many leaders we’ve met in our engineering industry are instead more than happy to be part of it!

If you are not willing to risk the unusual, you will have to settle for the ordinary.

– Jim Rohn

So what does it take to be a risk-taker and how should you take that step?

Why should Australia take risks in terms of innovation? Because with our current situation (economic environment, productivity growth) it seems that all the stars are aligned for Australia to take the lead, and innovation might be the one thing that stimulates us back into action.

Take the example of my business partner Scott Hansen, he never aimed to have his own business – or at least never imagined it. But sometimes this is what it takes to be the FIRST not only in Australia but also in the world, to manipulate the time of flight vision technology for use in a safety application. This was not risk-taking, this was answering the call of challenge, the supreme beauty of innovation! This influence and change in risk-appetite come from his passion and hard work, combined with genuine talent and vocation to help people embrace new technology.

Prioritising innovation today is the key to unlocking postcrisis growth.

Here are the results of a recent survey that suggest that companies that invest in innovation through a crisis outperform peers during the recovery:

Survey mckinsey innovation postcrisis

“The biggest risk is not taking any risk…”

In others, words, Don’t wait, innovate! COREMATIC has been taking chances, being challenged, and deciding to embrace risks in order to accompany Partners and Businesses into their own Cultures of Innovation – away from the status quo of the Australian Business scene.

We know it’s impossible for businesses owners to know every single thing that can go wrong, and be aware of all new technologies, so all we want is to invite them to join us in identifying all the potential areas of risk, and build a plan to address them by implementing simple solutions for complex problems.

Technologies can emerge from inside Australia in any sector such as agriculture, smelter, construction, pharmaceutic, and begin to open up new opportunities that we haven’t seen before.

I will take this occasion to announce that we will be proudly part of the next Hinkler Innovation Series that brings together well-known thought-leaders from across Australia and the globe who contribute to Australian innovation. I’m looking forward to hearing your ideas about risk-taking and facing challenges. If you won’t be attending, leave a comment below, and let’s keep the debate going to make Australia great again!

So, are you keen to take chances, Australia?

And, don’t forget, YOU CAN EITHER WATCH IT HAPPEN, OR PART OF IT.


Jonathan LEGAULT
Co-founder | CEO at COREMATIC Engineering